The heroin epidemic has long been a problem in the United States. Since its invention in the 1800s, heroin has been a drug with strong power and addictive ability. Recognizing the dangers of the drug, the United States Congress banned the use of heroin in 1924. However, in the mid-twentieth century, many musicians used the drug, and it was popular in the 1960s through the 1990s. Now the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that they have seen another increase since 2007, making the heroin epidemic a problem across the country.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is created from the poppy seed of opium plants, which are highly addictive. If the heroin is straight from the poppy seedpods, it’s pure heroin. Otherwise, people who sell the drug may cut it with other substances making it less pure. It’s usually a whitish or brownish color and has a powdery texture.
Heroin can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked. All three methods rapidly deliver the drug to the brain. Once in the brain, heroin is converted to morphine and binds to receptors known as opioid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the brain (and also in the body), especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure, the control of heart rate, and respiration.
How Does Heroin Cause Addiction?
Just like all opioids, heroin binds to the brain’s opioid receptors and cause a feeling of euphoria. This false sense of well-being is very appealing to people. In addition, the euphoria comes suddenly right after injecting the heroin making it all the more tantalizing. This causes people to want more of it once they start to come down off it.
The brain begins to adapt to the presence of heroin. With regular use, it becomes less sensitive to the drug and doesn’t work as well. This is called tolerance. People who develop a tolerance to heroin need larger and larger doses of the drug just to feel “normal.”
Tolerance is different from addiction, though the two often go hand-in-hand. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences. People who are addicted to heroin continue using the drug even when they know it’s harming them.
An individualized addiction treatment plan is the only way to be successful in detoxing from this drug.
Deaths caused by heroin have risen dramatically in a couple of decades. In 1999, 1,960 people died from heroin as opposed to 2017, which saw 15,482. One reason that may account for the rise in heroin deaths is that fentanyl is often mixed with heroin, and fentanyl is extremely powerful and dangerous. Even a small amount of fentanyl can kill someone.
Young adults between the ages of 18-25 are among those most affected by the rise in heroin use. The number of young people who tried heroin for the first time was almost double from 2006 to 2016. Consequently, the number of people with heroin use disorder is reaching epidemic levels, as well.
Hope for Addiction
At Tides Edge, you can find help for heroin addiction with our warm and loving detox facility. Our compassionate staff will help you ease off drugs and find hope in a new life. The cozy, home-like setting and research-based therapy will bring you to a place of healing and peace.
At our rehab treatment facility, you will find several treatment options to complement your healing journey. Some of these treatments include:
Don’t let addiction control your life. Now that you know about the heroin epidemic, reach out to a treatment center for help. Contact us at 866.723.3127, and we’ll get you on the path to healing.